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Here are six massive companies born out of recessions and some insights showing you what they're currently up to.  


IBM – 1911


This year IBM appointed a new CEO, Arvind Krishna, who assumed his post on Monday. As Krishna stepped up to his new role, he outlined the three most important actions IBM needs to take.


  1. Deepen understanding of IBM’s two strategic battles: the journey to hybrid cloud and AI
  2. Win the architectural battle in cloud
  3. Continually delighting IBM’s clients. At every interaction, strive to offer them the best experience and value


To accomplish this Krishna has reshuffled his executive team. He's hired a new, head for IBM strategy, a senior VP for global markets and a VP for go-to-market strategies across all business units and to strengthen IBM’s client-centric culture.

It’s likely IBM will also change strategy with its agencies too, to help launch its new products and services. 


Kraft Heinz – Kraft 1909 Heinz 1905


Last month, in news exclusive to ALF, we announced a wealth of new appointments for Kraft Heinz:


A new head of marketing; marketing lead for meals in Northern Europe; international marketing manager for EMEA, APAC & LATAM; marketing lead for food service; international media & digital lead; international brand manager for condiments & dressings; international brand manager for EMEA, APAC & LATAM; brand manager for Heinz Sauces; brand manager for Exploration Sauces; and two new junior brand managers.


And that’s not all for March, the food giant also issued an RFP for its $600m global media business. The major agency networks are expected to pitch including WPP and Omnicom.


Disney – 1929


Bob Iger’s 15-year stint as Disney’s chief executive was due to come to an end this year with Bob Chapek, the head of Disney’s theme park business, unveiled as his successor in February. But Iger has decided to stay on due to the pandemic.


A recent appointment which did happen last month was that of a new senior vice president & general manager, director to consumer for EMEA. 


Since the launch of its Disney+ service, Sky has signed a multi-year deal to make Disney+ available on its Sky Q platform; and it will soon be available on Now TV.  Which brand decision makers will be responsible for promoting this new service?


Frozen 2 made its debut on Disney+ a bit earlier than initially planned, much to the relief of work-from-home parents wondering how to keep their kids entertained in the quarantine. And Disney's upcoming Artemis Fowl will go direct to streaming instead of making its debut in cinemas.


Upcoming films Mulan, Jungle Cruise, and Black Widow will all be pushed back later in the calendar year; and the release of Pixar film Soul will be postponed from June to November. This means Disney doesn't have a single new film scheduled for theatrical release until the end of July. Last year it spent over £26m to promote the release of its new productions: will this budget be redirected into Disney+?


Hewlett Packard – 1939


Last year HP rejected Xerox’s £25.9bn takeover bid. There were still plans for a merger until this month when Xerox decided not to go ahead due to economic uncertainty. 


As Xerox is changing strategy, HP is launching new SME focused laptops to enable improved performance for small and midsize businesses now looking to maintain productivity while working remotely.


HP CEO said, "We have seen very strong demand for PCs, and in general for everything that has to do with people working from home or people learning from home." He added, "As the activity has shifted to the home, all of our products in that space really have been in high demand."


HP recently hired a new marketing manager for UK & Ireland in this space. Could we also see an increase in advertising spend to further penetrate the SME market? During the period of the potential acquisition by Xerox, HP had one of its highest spending periods in any quarter, investing over £6m in advertising. With the merger falling through and growth in new markets, what other changes will HP make? It hasn’t reviewed any of its major agencies for over 10 years: will 2020 be the year it does?


Electronic Arts – 1982


In its latest Fifia campaign, EA partnered with Copa90 and Rio Ferdinand to encourage football fans to stay home and play Fifa together. 

Integrations of AR and VR technologies and the move towards 5G connectivity could see EA sports rolling out a new generation of immersive games into the market enabling players to connect and interact like they have never done before.

If you want to monitor and keep track of EA Games activities ALF can help you keep track of new campaigns, advertising spend and new product launches.


Groupon – 2008


Groupon has recently listed a host of new deals where there are huge savings to be made for anyone keen to learn something new. Now is certainly an ideal time for consumers to have a go at whatever activity they’ve always wanted to try. 


The marketplace website currently offers deals on a wealth of courses; from interior design, which includes a reduction from £101 to £19, to fiction writing with prices cut from £495 to £19, a whopping 96% saving. There are also options to book classes now and enjoy them once the lockdown is lifted; and most vouchers are being extended for up to 12 months.


Groupon’s strategy is now to focus more on travel and experiences rather than selling merchandise after its board of directors replaced CEO Rich Williams on Wednesday. Aaron Cooper, Groupon’s president of North America, is now the interim CEO.


Another key appointment is its new international trade marketing manager who joins from a health, wellness and fitness brand. Groupon may well be introducing more wellness and fitness experiences to its offerings.


In 2019, the e-commerce hub spent over £15m on advertising, the most it had ever spent. Groupon has a new strategy and will soon have a new permanent CEO, which means more changes and further investment to come. This should be a brand on your prospect list.


ALF shows you the names, contact details and job functions of decision makers. You’ll also see all marketing activities for these and any other of the highest spending brands in our news section.


ALF connects you to brands which are reviewing their agencies and provides you with their advertising spend by media channel.


ALF helps you find the brands you haven’t thought of, providing you with new leads every day.